unigo_skin
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

The Shadow of the Marshalsea

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

At first the shadow of the Marshalsea is a real thing: the high walls of the prison block most light from coming into the little yard. But soon, the idea of a Marshalsea shadow falling on someone comes to mean the long-term effects of having been a prisoner there. Whenever Dorrit starts to really act up, Amy thinks she can see the shadow of the wall on him. Even more sadly, when Amy has a hard time adjusting to the rich lifestyle the Dorrits lead in the second half of the novel, she says she herself can never get out from under that shadow. It's a strong and moving image – easy to imagine visually and so full of rich meanings. Think about it – what kind of things do we usually associate with shadows? Are there positive meanings as well as negative ones? Who else does the Marshalsea shadow touch?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top